For many years, there was a growing collection of the most richly colored sea glass at our family vacation spot near Lake Michigan. We shared that old house in South Haven with my in-laws, the whole darn clan! This includes my sister-in-law, Jennie LaReau, as well as her husband Jerome and my phenomenal niece, Katie. It was a sweet tradition the frequent walks Jennie always took with her daughter looking for the pretty sea glass. I’m fairly certain those walks continue to this day when the LaReaus are up in South Haven. It’s just one of the small ways I have seen the Lord working through Jennie as a mom.
To see what kind of mother Jennie is, one need only look at her stunning daughter. Not only is she polite, kind, hard-working and sunny, but Katie is also a young woman of faith. That comes from living in a home with spiritually aware parents, and both Jennie and Jerome are certainly that. They love the Lord. Long engaged as active members of their parish, St. Louis de Montfort are the LaReaus. In fact, they have been members of the choir at the 9:00am Sunday mass for as long as I can recall.
Jennie is a fellow Boilermaker who graduated from the Krannert School of Management. She had a lengthy and successful career in a largely male-dominated organization. She’s also just a stylish and put together woman- she has always been beautiful. I’ve long been a little jealous of how great she looks in that short haircut…it’s very “Audrey Hepburn” to me. Now retired, Jennie has focused a great deal of her time and effort deepening her faith life. It’s a super example to those around her. For instance, from my nearby perch, I notice that in addition to her SLDM pursuits, Jennie’s participating in a Christ-centered book club as well as the “Awaken” program for Catholic women that happens most Wednesdays at St.. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel.
I’ve decided to give Jennie a shout out this week because she and Jerome celebrate their wedding anniversary at this time of the year, and they are a couple to whom marriage is so much more than “just a sheet of paper”. It’s clear from their enduring union that theirs is a sacramental marriage in an age where that seems to me be a more rare thing than it once was in this world. I have grown to admire them both as time goes by for their mutual commitment to their vocation.
Jennie, thank you for helping me to understand how important it is to value and understand differences, overlook mistakes, and yield to good sense by watching your example over many years! Happy Anniversary!!
“A successful marriage isn’t the union of two perfect people. It’s that of two imperfect people who have learned the value of forgiveness and grace.” -Darlene Schacht